Meet the anonymous artist installing bus benches at neglected stops on L.A.’s Eastside - Los Angeles Times
Over the past 11 months, the artist has surreptitiously installed more than a dozen wood benches around the Eastside, and he has it down to a science: He props a ladder next to the bus sign, slips a handmade wooden bench over the pole and proceeds to screw, hammer and glue it into place. In about 15 minutes, the stop has a brand-new bus bench.

“This is allegedly the new biotech corridor,” he says, gesturing at the neighborhood around us. We are less than half a mile from LAC+USC Medical Center. “But they don’t care about the health of the people already here. It’s like the city has refused to build benches for them.”
publicspace  architecture  informal_architecture 
7 weeks ago
The MAYA Principle: Design for the Future, but Balance it with Your Users’ Present | Interaction Design Foundation
Today, Loewy can still teach us to design our products with just the right balance between the well-known present, on one hand, and a new and innovative future on the other hand. If we don’t hit the right balance, our users won’t embrace nor buy our products, Loewy emphasized.
design  booklink 
8 weeks ago
HISTORY: Octavia Butler Gave Us A Few Rules For Predicting The Future | Neo-Griot
“Okay,” the young man challenged. “So what’s the answer?”

“There isn’t one,” I told him.

“No answer? You mean we’re just doomed?” He smiled as though he thought this might be a joke.

“No,” I said. “I mean there’s no single answer that will solve all of our future problems. There’s no magic bullet. Instead there are thousands of answers–at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be.”
speculative  book  octavia_butler 
8 weeks ago
Resources | Green Mountain Self-Advocates
GMSA is a strong organization because it is run by and for self-advocates. We have created tools and training materials that should only be presented by people with developmental disabilities.
self-advocates  carnegie  developmental_disability 
9 weeks ago
The Life Cycle of Disability in Ancient Greece
I demonstrate that far from being ejected from their families or communities, disabled ancient Greeks were integrated where they could be and accommodated where they couldn’t. I highlight, for example, the ways that parents and midwives assisted infants who were born with conditions like cleft palate, as well as military exemptions for disabled adult men in 4th century BCE Athens. I emphasize how individuals with a variety of somatic realities participated and engaged in their communities. By removing disability from a biomedical frame of reference, with its attendant prejudices and estimations of ability predicated on modern modes of production and interaction, and re-locating it to an active, social context, I demonstrate the contingent and constructed nature of disability and resist generalizations about the universal plight of the disabled in the past.
disability  history  book 
9 weeks ago
Jamie Beck makes state history as 1st to regain decision-making rights
Under the Supported Decision Making agreement, Beck, who will still receive Medicaid waiver services to make sure she is safe and thriving, selects a team to assist her and determines how they will advise her in area such as finances, healthcare, legal matters and housing, much like parents, family members and friends do for just about anyone making important life choices. In the end, though, the choices now are legally hers, which she said isn't the least bit scary.
developmental_disability  law  book 
june 2018
The Fix: Dementia program in Peel "should spread like wildfire" | Toronto Star
“We want families to want this. We want families to realize, yes, you have been losing your relative to dementia, yes, it is painful, but there is a bridge you can cross and if you cross the bridge into the person with dementia's reality... you can learn to re-love them as they are now.
dementia  memory  book 
june 2018
Opinion | The Magic of a Cardboard Box - The New York Times
In 1951, Charles and Ray Eames mocked up a version of the packing boxes for their Herman Miller storage furniture with pre-printed lines for doors, windows and awnings: When the adults bought a bookshelf, their kids would get a free toy.
cardboard  book 
june 2018
Donella Meadows recommendations for how to dance with and intervene in systems
Shortly before her death in 2001 Donella had been working on the manuscript for a new book, which was to summarize what she had learned from applying the concepts and tools of systems thinking to working for sustainability.
system  book 
june 2018
Saidiya Hartman - Wikipedia
I got to this person from Daniela Rosner's app materials for Mellon The term “critical fabulation” signifies a writing methodology that combines historical and archival research with critical theory and fictional narrative. Critical fabulation is a tool that Hartman uses in her scholarly practice to make productive sense of the gaps and silences in the archive of trans-Atlantic slavery that absent the voices of enslaved women
speculative  fiction  Mellon 
may 2018
Every Culture Appropriates - The Atlantic
But the trouble with that argument is that—like culture—power also ebbs and flows. Customs we may think of as immemorially inherent in one culture very often originated in that culture’s own history of empire and domination. The Han Chinese learned to drink tea for pleasure from peoples to their south. The green flag of Islam was adapted from the pre-Islamic religions of Iran. The great west African kingdom of Benin acquired the metal for some of its famous bronze artworks by selling thousands of people as slaves to Portuguese traders.

All cultures have histories. Young people born in North America may imagine that their grandmother’s recipes or wardrobe emerged autochthonously in a timeless ancestral homeland. But that only reflects how thoroughly they have Americanized themselves, reducing other countries’ complexities to folklores to be fetishized rather than understood and evaluated on their own terms.
may 2018
Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History
In the three great citizenship debates of the 19th century and early 20th centuries: women’s suffrage, African American freedom, and immigration restriction, disability played a substantive role. Opponents of equality for women cited their supposed physical, intellectual, and psychological disabilities: physical frailty, irrationality, and emotional instability. Supporters of racial inequality and immigration restriction invoked the supposed disabilities of particular races and ethnic groups. Thus, while disabled people are one of the minority groups historically assigned inferior status, disability has functioned for all such groups as a justification of that status.
disability  history  book 
may 2018
Aeron chair history: Herman Miller’s office staple was originally designed for the elderly.
The Aeron was a throne perfectly tailored to Silicon Valley’s vanities. With a frame of high-tech molded plastic, a skin of woven plastic fibers pulled taut, and mechanics that accommodated slouchy rebels, the chair flattered the people who bought it. It was the best engineering money could buy, and it seemed purpose-built for squeaky-voiced billionaires inventing the future in front of a computer. But the Aeron’s origin story isn’t so simple. The apotheosis of the office chair—and perhaps the only one ever to become a recognizable and coveted brand name among cubicle-dwellers—was actually the unexpected fruit of a 10-year effort to create better furniture for the elderly.
book  design  history 
may 2018
Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure in Patients with Autistic Disorder, College Students, and Animals
I will describe here a deep touch pressure device ("squeeze machine") that I developed to help me overcome problems of oversensitivity to touch, and that allays my nervousness. Reactions of other people to the squeeze machine, including children with autistic disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are also reported.
autism  book 
april 2018
I and You: a short appreciation of Martin Buber’s ‘Ich und Du’
In this Between lurks the vital, nourishing experience of human life, the real sacred stuff of existence. As he put it: ‘All real living is meeting.’
book  encounter  buber  interaction 
march 2018
How to Ungrade | Jesse Stommel
Over many years, I've found that not grading begins a set of necessary conversations among my colleagues, between me and students, and among students in my classes. What students write to me in self-reflections and self-evaluations is profoundly different from the kinds of interactions we would have in a purely transactional system. Their self-evaluations (which I sometimes call “process letters”), and my responses to them, become a space of dialogue, not just about the course, but about their learning and about how learning happens. Not every interaction rises to that level but many do. What happens with almost every single student is that any assumption I might make about them is squashed by what they write about themselves and their work. My view of students as complex and deeply committed to their education is fueled by the thousands of self-reflection letters I've read throughout my career.
education  teaching 
march 2018
How Intellectuals Create a Public - The Chronicle of Higher Education
The reason for this has less do with the elitism of the intellectual — mine is no brief for an avant garde or philosopher king — than with the existence, really, the nonexistence, of the public. Publics, as John Dewey argued, never simply exist; they are always created. Created out of groups of people who are made and mangled by the actions of other people. Capital acts upon labor, subjugating men and women at work, making them miserable at home. Those workers are not yet a public. But when someone says — someone writes — "Workers of the world, unite!," they become a public that is willing and able to act upon its shared situation. It is in the writing of such words, the naming of such names — "Workers of the world" or "We, the People," even "The Problem That Has No Name" — that a public is summoned into being. In the act of writing for a public, intellectuals create the public for which they write.
public_amateur  public  intellectual  writers 
march 2018
Quinn Norton: The New York Times Fired My Doppelgänger - The Atlantic
The day before Valentine’s Day, social media created a bizarro-world version of me. I have seen strange ideas about me online before, but this doppelgänger was so far from resembling me that I told friends and loved ones I didn’t want to even try to rebut it. It was a leading question turned into a human form. The net created a person with my name and face, but with so little relationship to me, she could have been an invader from an alternate universe.
internet  twitter 
march 2018
Modicare: India's government plans huge free healthcare program - Feb. 1, 2018
The government said Thursday it plans to cover hospital treatment costs of up to 500,000 rupees ($7,800) per year for 100 million "poor and vulnerable" families. That's more than 15 times the amount poor families in India can currently claim from the government.

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley estimated that around 500 million people will benefit from the program.

If the program is fully taken up, it would cost close to $780 billion, a huge sum for India's $2.4 trillion economy.

"India cannot realize its demographic dividend without its citizens being healthy," Jaitley said, referring to the country's large young population. "The government is steadily but surely progressing towards the goal of universal health coverage," he added, during a speech presenting his annual budget.
india  development  book 
february 2018
Keeping Creativity Alive, Even in Hell - The New York Times
She was 44 when she arrived at Theresienstadt, an artist in some ways just beginning to realize her power. In the concentration camp, defying the surrounding grimness, her paintings became colorful again. The show concludes with three portraits of flowers in bloom.
artists  history  HAM 
february 2018
[no title]
The Boston College Supported Employment Program offers adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to be gainfully employed and supported in a competitive work environment.
february 2018
Virginia Woolf on Jane Austen's novels | New Republic
She would have devised a method, clear and composed as ever, but deeper and more suggestive, for conveying not only what people say, but what they leave unsaid; not only what they are, but (if we may be pardoned the vagueness of the expression) what life is. She would have stood further away from her characters, and seen them more as a group, less as individuals. Her satire, while it played less incessantly, would have been more stringent and severe. She would have been the forerunner of Henry James and of Proust—but enough. Vain are these speculations: she died “just as she was beginning to feel confidence in her own success.”
writers  writing 
february 2018
The growing acceptance of autism in the workplace - CBS News
The biggest surprise for him, he says, has been the variety of candidates applying. "Very quickly we started getting resumes from people that had degrees in history, and literature in graphic design, attorneys … the whole gamut of jobs," Velasco said.

"So really, you went into this thinking that people with autism would be good at certain jobs, and what you ended up discovering is they're good at all jobs?" asked Cowan.

"They are good at just about every role."

And they're expected to perform in those roles, just like anyone else.
accessibility  autism  employment 
february 2018
Meet Steve Saling of ALS Residence Initiative (ALSRI) in Chelsea - Boston Voyager Magazine | Boston City Guide
Instead of carrying all of the power hungry controllers on my wheelchair, I would build them into the building and control them remotely through a central server and everything could be powered on the grid with a generator back up. I knew that permissions could be set so that a single system could serve multiple users. The big problem was that the software did not exist.
als  book 
february 2018
Announcing “Project Things” - An open framework for connecting your devices to the web. - The Mozilla Blog
We kicked off “Project Things”, with the goal of building a decentralized ‘Internet of Things’ that is focused on security, privacy, and interoperability. Since our announcement last year, we have continued to engage in open and collaborative development with a community of makers, testers, contributors, and end-users, to build the foundation for this future.
opensource  disability  technology 
february 2018
Walking While Black | Literary Hub
A foot leaves, a foot lands, and our longing gives it momentum from rest to rest. We long to look, to think, to talk, to get away. But more than anything else, we long to be free.
february 2018
MIT students are being scared straight with episodes of ‘Black Mirror’ | The Outline
“I think the typical engineering education should include more types of activities and courses that teach students to think about why and whether they want to build something,” she said. “I think Facebook, for example, is the typical example of a service that is built by a lot of engineers, and I think they made a lot of mistakes and didn't think enough about all sorts of consequences of choices they made in how they implement things.”

MIT has a complicated relationship with the high tech industry, as any technical school might. Its students often spin off startups or take jobs in the tech and military-industrial complexes, but at the same time, its student body is notoriously political and prone to acts of defiance. Last year, the Media Lab instituted a $250,000 “Disobedience Award” for people challenging norms and laws.
MIT  technology  futures 
february 2018
Education is not a design problem with a technical solution. It’s a social and political project neoliberals want to innovate away.
january 2018
Suspensions Are Not Support - Center for American Progress
This report presents a new analysis—detailed in the appendix—highlighting the prevalence of suspensions and expulsions among young children ages 3 to 5 attending early childhood programs. It also provides background on these exclusionary disciplinary practices; presents analysis of recent nationally representative data; and explains the consequences of expulsions and suspensions for all children, specifically children with disabilities. Finally, it provides recommendations to ensure that all young children—particularly those with disabilities—reap the full benefits of early learning, including:

Prohibit suspensions and expulsions across early childhood settings
Develop alternatives that proactively address children’s emotional and behavioral needs
Invest in teacher professional development
Reduce teacher stress
Empower teachers with tools to fight implicit bias
Promote meaningful family engagement
disability  race  education 
january 2018
No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear | The Nation
This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
activism  writing 
january 2018
The American Scholar: What Is Freedom of Conscience? - Marilynne Robinson
Conscience can be slow to awake, even to abuses that are deeply contrary to declared values, for example liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And if conscience is at peace with such things, if it rationalizes and endorses them, does it still possess an authority that justifies its expression, since acceptance is as much an act of conscience as resistance is?
politics  book 
january 2018
Prologue to Art, Social Imagination, and Praxis
Imagination, intention: Neither is sufficient.  There must be a transmutation of good will, of what I call wide­awakeness
into action.  Yes, wide­awakeness is an aspect of Maurice Merleau­Ponty’s (1964) view of "the highest level of
consciousness" and Paulo Freire's (2005) conception of  “conscientization.” Both demand reflection and praxis, which are
inseparable from each other.  Both not only imagine things as if they could be otherwise, but move persons to begin on
their own initiatives, to begin to make them so.
book  social_imagination 
january 2018
review of MC Bateson Peripheral Visions and Maxine Greene Releasing the Imagination
If we will learn to see the patterns human beings create as adaptive behavior, then we begin to see the square
patterning in the poverty of the Manila slums as human achievement of survival. "We have come to lack faith in the
resilience and creativity of human order so we lack too the willingness to recognize it where forms differ" (p. 221).
book  design  social_imagination 
january 2018
ROROTOKO : Lauren Berlant On her book Cruel Optimism : Cutting-Edge Intellectual Interviews
I am actually pretty lame at imagining a repaired world. What I provide best are depictions of what makes people stuck in the face of the ordinary pulsations of a fraying crisis.

So Cruel Optimism tracks the rise of a precarious public sphere. It sees the world as in an impasse and a situation beyond the normative good life structures, where people have a hard time imagining a genre that makes sense of life while they’re in the middle of it. I’m saying that intense personal emotions about the shape and fraying of life are also collective, and have to do with an economic crisis meeting up with a crisis in the reproduction of fantasy. I talk about this as a waning of the “good life” genres.
design  futures  book 
january 2018
Can’t Get There From Here — THE BITTER SOUTHERNER
For most people, sidewalk maintenance and accessibility compliance is a non-issue. First of all, most people in Atlanta aren’t doing much walking to get around; the heat and hills provide natural disincentives, plus only 16.9 percent of Atlanta households have no vehicle, according to the Census Bureau's 2010-2013 American Community Survey. Even those who walk tend to treat the decay of Atlanta's characteristic century-old sidewalks — most laid with hexagonal concrete pavers — as a fact of life. For most, the jagged, broken, pothole-ridden cement is just a nuisance. But for others – people like Beth Beckley – broken sidewalks are a matter of life or death. via Alexandra Lange
disability  design  urbanplanning  architecture 
november 2017
How Comic Books Can Get Even Better for Dyslexic Readers - Pacific Standard
Research suggests why comic books can help dyslexic readers make sense of a narrative. The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity has noted that, in general, short snippets of text and typographic choices like sans serif fonts, bold text, large letters, plenty of space around characters, and no italics make texts easier for people with dyslexia to read. via Alexandra Lange
disability  graphics  design 
november 2017
Dan Hill: Tactile Cities | Assemble Papers
"Ernesto Rogers says that the job of the architect is to design the spoon, and then the city. I really like that. It’s a bit like my favourite Eliel Saarinen quote: you have to design the chair in the context of the room. Inevitably, at some point, you’re shifting gears."
architecture  scales  book 
november 2017
Why Down syndrome in Iceland has almost disappeared - CBS News
"It reflects a relatively heavy-handed genetic counseling," he said. "And I don't think that heavy-handed genetic counseling is desirable. … You're having impact on decisions that are not medical, in a way."

Stefansson noted, "I don't think there's anything wrong with aspiring to have healthy children, but how far we should go in seeking those goals is a fairly complicated decision."
DS  genetics  prenatal_testing 
october 2017
Our Moloch
Gary Wills on gun culture
october 2017
Oakeshott on education and culture – Snakes and Ladders
A culture, particularly one such as ours, is a continuity of feelings, perceptions, ideas, engagements, attitudes and so forth, pulling in different directions, often critical of one another and contingently related to one another so as to compose not a doctrine, but what I shall call a conversational encounter.
ayjay  history  culture 
september 2017
Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Alternatives to Despair - The New York Times
Trump’s campaign used race more cynically and divisively than any in recent memory: He race-baited with birtherism, stoked white-identitarian sentiments and winked at white supremacists and anti-Semites. But while racialist and racist gestures were part of his appeal, they were far from the only forces that persuaded people to cast votes for him. So did his distinctive (for the G.O.P.) economic populism, the overreaching social liberalism of the late-Obama-era Democratic Party, the long shadows of the Iraq War and the financial crisis, gender politics and secularization and the opioid crisis and reality television and much, much more. Trump contained multitudes; so did his support; so — crucially — must any effective political adaptation or response.
race  trump  politics 
september 2017
What Ta-Nehisi Coates Gets Wrong About American Politics - The Atlantic
When you construct an entire teleology on one cause—even a cause as powerful and abiding as white racism—you face the temptation to leave out anything that complicates the thesis. So Coates minimizes sexism—Trump’s disgusting language and the visceral hatred of many of his supporters for Hillary Clinton—background noise. He downplays xenophobia, even though foreigners were far more often the objects of Trump’s divisive rhetoric and policy proposals than black Americans. (Of all his insults, the only one Trump felt obliged to withdraw was his original foray into birtherism.) Coates doesn’t try to explain why, at one point in the campaign, a plurality of Republicans supported Ben Carson over the other nine candidates, all white. He omits the weird statistic that slightly more black and Latino voters and slightly fewer whites went for Trump than for Mitt Romney. He doesn’t even mention the estimated eight and a half million Americans who voted for President Obama and then for Trump—even though they made the difference. No need to track the descending nihilism of the Republican Party. The urban-rural divide is a sham.
race  trump 
september 2017
George Orwell, Politics and the English Language (1946)
Each of these passages has faults of its own, but, quite apart from avoidable ugliness, two qualities are common to all of them. The first is staleness of imagery: the other is lack of precision. The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house. I list below, with notes and examples, various of the tricks by means of which the work of prose-construction is habitually dodged:
writing  politics 
september 2017
How Intellectuals Create a Public - The Chronicle of Higher Education
The reason for this has less do with the elitism of the intellectual — mine is no brief for an avant garde or philosopher king — than with the existence, really, the nonexistence, of the public. Publics, as John Dewey argued, never simply exist; they are always created. Created out of groups of people who are made and mangled by the actions of other people. Capital acts upon labor, subjugating men and women at work, making them miserable at home. Those workers are not yet a public. But when someone says — someone writes — "Workers of the world, unite!," they become a public that is willing and able to act upon its shared situation. It is in the writing of such words, the naming of such names — "Workers of the world" or "We, the People," even "The Problem That Has No Name" — that a public is summoned into being. In the act of writing for a public, intellectuals create the public for which they write.

This is why the debate over jargon versus plain language is, in this context, misplaced. The underlying assumption of that debate is that the public is simply there, waiting to be addressed. The academic philosopher with his notorious inaccessibility — say, Adorno — obviously has no wish to address the public; the essayist with his demotic presence and proficiency — say, Hazlitt — obviously does. Yet both Adorno and Hazlitt spoke to audiences that did not exist but which they hoped would come into being.
academia  activism  public_amateur 
september 2017
As Artificial Intelligence Advances, What Are its Religious Implications? | Religion & Politics
But beyond speculation, there are ethical questions that need answering now, says J. Nathan Matias, a visiting scholar at the MIT Media Lab. Matias is co-author of a forthcoming paper on the intersection of AI and religion. “AI systems are already being used today to determine who police are going to investigate,” he says. “They’re used today to do sting operations of people who are imagined as potential future domestic abusers or sexual predators. They’re being used to decide who is going to get [financial] credit or not, based upon anticipated future solvency.” Religious communities should participate in conversations regarding these dilemmas, he says, and should involve themselves in the application of the AI that exists today.
religion  AI 
august 2017
2 × 4: Essay: Designer As Author
Designer as Translator, Performer, or Director. "If we really need to coin a phrase to describe an activity encompassing imaging, editing, narration, chronicling, performing, translating, organizing and directing, I'll conclude with a suggestion:

designer = designer."
design  theory 
august 2017
Computing Machinery and Intelligence A.M. Turing
Turing's definitive paper. Note limitations and affordances; also Matthew mentioned the gender stuff at work even here.
history  AI 
august 2017
exhaustice listibg of appliances and most common ailments/fixes
july 2017
My Favorite Interview Questions
great interview questions here, suitable for many contexts
july 2017
Podcasts : Kids & Family : NPR
family friendly podcasts for travel
family  children  podcast 
april 2017
Experience and perceptions of ‘children’s research’ and the educational turn - un Magazine 7.1 - un Projects
Like ourselves children establish and test hypothesis and research to ‘know’ and explore ‘truths’. In this article I look at the multiple learning positions of spectators and participants in arts practices and expose new pedagogical approaches that build upon this positioning within an educational paradigm.
art  research  teaching  education 
april 2017
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